Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

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Monday, January 3, 2011

The eBook Revolution

Books Harley L. Sachs The eBook Revolution
By Harley L. Sachs
The electronic book has finally come into its own, and chances are you
may even have received one under the Christmas tree this year, with an
estimated 6.6 million ebook readers sold in 2010.
If you are one of the electronically challenged, an ebook is read on
a screen instead of being printed on paper. An ebook, digital magazine
or newspaper can be downloaded off the Internet to your PC, Mac,
Kindle, Nook, iPad, or any number of screen gadgets, even in some
instances to your digital phone. Not everyone wants to read a novel on
a tiny cell phone screen, but times are a-changing.
Monday, November 15, 2010

Yooper recipes

Dining Harley L. Sachs Yooper Recipes: A taste for porcupine, beaver & rotten pheasant
By Harley Sachs
We just went through our book shelves and gave a box of cook books to Goodwill that we had acquired but never used. Someone will no doubt snap them up.
One is my favorite is the 1978 edition of “Favorite Recipes” published by the local Copper Country chapter of the National Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs. It may be a national club, but the recipes are clearly Yooper. This is not your hamburger and steak cook book. This is not about Cajun spices or things kosher. You won’t fine New York style clam chowder in this book.
You won’t find chocolate covered ants or fried grasshoppers, either. No smoked oysters, No Mississippi crawdads. No Chicago style hot dogs. No Scottish haggis.
Monday, July 12, 2010

Peekaboo Drones

Features Harley L. Sachs Peekaboo Drones on the prowl
By Harley L. Sachs
If you travel to England these days you will be under police
surveillance, but you knew that. London is reputed to have about
45,000 surveillance cameras. Some of the video clips were broadcast in
the follow-up to the London subway bombings. Sifted out of millions of
frames of video, the clips showed the bombers doing their practice
runs, etc. But now the British cops have another tool, the AR100B
surveillance flying drone made by the AirRobot company.
Monday, June 14, 2010

Backing Up the Backups

Features Harley L. Sachs Backing Up the Backups/ Three times is the charm, just in case...
A sure path to the psychiatrist’s office is the nightmare of anyone who experienced a hard drive crash. It’s that ubiquitous computer thing again. We shouldn’t be surprised, but we tend to take machines for granted. Hard drives are mechanical. If you’ve ever seen the innards of one, it’s a disk, even a stack of disks, spinning at perhaps 5,500 rpm. A little oscillating arm tracks back and forth over the surface of the spinning disk reading the information on the magnetic surface. The problem is, the pickup arm is so close to the spinning surface that a few microns of cigarette smoke can interfere with it.
Monday, May 3, 2010

An Ocean without fish

Features Harley L. Sachs An Ocean Without Fish
Forget global warming -- carbonic acid could spell ‘curtains’
When we think of acid we may think of acetic acid (vinegar), battery acid (sulfuric), and even ascorbic acid (vitamin C), the last of which is used as a preservative and puts the zing in certain candies kids love. But chances are, we don’t think of carbonic acid, the result of the ionization of CO2, which puts the bite in carbonated drinks. Yet carbonic acid could well mean the end of the human race.
Whether you believe that global warming is a man-made phenomenon or a natural cycle of earth’s evolving climate changes, one issue is certain and alarming. It’s the impact of carbonic acid, the acidification of the oceans because of CO2 emissions. Since the Industrial Revolution began, the production of CO2 through the burning of fossil fuels has increased enormously and about a third of it has been absorbed by the oceans. We’re talking millions of tons.
Monday, April 19, 2010

Living off the grid

Features Harley L. Sachs What would you do if the power company demanded $37,000 to set up a
one-mile line to your house in the woods? Not only that, but the
specifications required cutting a 20-foot wide swath so that overhanging
branches wouldn’t hit the wires, creating an ugly gap in the woods.
Monday, April 12, 2010


Features Harley L. Sachs Piezoelectricity: Power under pressure
You probably never heard of piezoelectricity but you have used it if you have an outdoor grill with a push-button igniter. The phenomenon gets its name from the Greek word piezo which means push. Push on a ceramic crystal and you get a spark of electricity which, in the case of your grill or the gas/electric refrigerator in your camper, ignites the propane. It’s a strange phenomenon which may someday become a source of electricity by harnessing the pressure exerted on highways or railway tracks.
This phenomenon was first discovered and described by Pierre and Jacques Curie in 1880. It was then just a laboratory curiosity, but it later found application in microphones, which employ electric energy created by the pressure of sound waves on crystals.
Monday, December 7, 2009

The sheet rock scandal

Features Harley L. Sachs The Sheet Rock Scandal
Chinese drywall causes homeowner headaches
By Harley L. Sachs
Is your house booby-trapped by deadly sheet rock? Sheet rock is what
the inner walls of your dwelling space are made of.
Monday, October 5, 2009

Extinct no longer

Features Harley L. Sachs Extinct No Longer
The quest to recover the Tasmanian tiger
By Erin Crowell 10/5/09

It’s hard to argue that police work is not the usual nine-to-five job. It’s a career of long, lonely hours, dealing with unique situations and people. We hear about them in the news – the routine traffic stop gone wrong, the burglar who got away, the standoff lasting hours. But, what we rarely hear about are the personal stories of those officers, the good stories – the ordinary, the extraordinary, and for some, the unexplainable.
Ingrid Dean, a 20-year veteran of the Michigan State Police, gathered some of those stories and wrote a book: Spirit of the Badge: 60 True Police Stories of Divine Guidance, Miracles, & Intuition. Released on October 1, the book is a collection of first-hand, written accounts by police officers from around the country. While some stories may be interpreted in the realm of the paranormal and the divine, all show a side of law enforcement we rarely get to see.
Dean – who has served as a field detective for there years, was a polygraph examiner for 12 years and worked the road for six – is currently a detective sergeant and forensic artist for the Seventh District Michigan State Police Post in Traverse City.
The Express recently sat down with Dean and asked her more about the book and the goings-on behind the badge.
Monday, September 21, 2009

Saving our history

Features Harley L. Sachs Saving Our History
What happens if our digital
records get wiped out?

Harley L. Sachs 9/21/09

With the Internet buzzing with warnings about the threat from Iran or Korea of an EMP -- a destructive “electromagnetic pulse” -- that could disrupt America’s electrical grid, shut down communications, and wipe out all electronic circuitry and digital files, there’s a genuine risk that we can lose not only our current computer files, but our history.
If the entire digital store of human knowledge went up in smoke tomorrow, how would we know how to make anything? Without permanent records, the knowledge on how to do everything from smelting iron ore to building nuclear power plants would be lost.
Monday, September 7, 2009

The espresso book machine

Features Harley L. Sachs The Espresso Book Machine
But it Doesn’t Make Coffee!
Harley Sachs 9/7/09
For a gag once I hoped to glue the spigot from a coffee machine to the side of my desktop computer with a sign “coffee” and a little card saying “out of order” in case someone thought my computer -- besides doing so much -- could also make coffee. Now there is an Espresso Book Machine (EBM) that was chosen by Time magazine as “Best Invention of 2007.” It prints books on demand. Unfortunately, it’s not in Traverse City yet or anywhere in Michigan. But that day is coming.
It was only a matter of time before the ordinary office copy machine would be upgraded to not only print downloaded digitized documents, but also to do a cover and the binding as well: an entire paperback book.
The Espresso Book Machine (EBM) of which there are about a dozen now operating (most of them abroad) will print you a book in about four to seven minutes, before your coffee gets cold. In fact, the plan is to put these machines in coffee shops so you can buy a latte and have the book of your choice printed while you wait.
Monday, July 20, 2009

New options for solar power

Features Harley L. Sachs New Options for
Solar Power
We need cheaper and more
diverse solutions

Harley L. Sachs 7/20/09

Solar panels can be as small as the tiny one on your light-charged pocket
calculator; but there are new developments that promise to provide more
significant supplies of electricity.
Monday, May 4, 2009

Preparing for Michigan‘s Pandemic

Features Harley L. Sachs Preparing for Michigan‘s Pandemic
Harley L. Sachs 5/4/09
If you think the government has been asleep at the switch regarding a pandemic, be reassured. This year, Michigan’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and the Michigan Department of Community Health mailed an insert to businesses around the state about an expected pandemic.
I’ve written about pandemics before, primarily in my thriller “Scratch—out!” in which a terrorist group tries to kill everyone in the USA with a biological warfare agent. The reason why such a weapon is not used is that it is uncontrollable once it gets loose and causes a pandemic. It’s like the poison gas used by the Germans in World War I. If the wind changes, it blows back in your face.
Swine flu is not a biological warfare agent, but it could be a pandemic, as in the sudden outbreak of an epidemic that affects a broad area, ranging from a region to the entire world.
Monday, February 23, 2009

Flash: Tankless hot water heaters

Features Harley L. Sachs Flash: Tankless hot water heaters
Harley L. Sachs 2/23/09

It’s easy to forget, living in a Great Lakes state, that many millions of people in the world lack that most precious resource -- fresh water. In Bangladesh, even water from newly-dug wells is tainted with arsenic. One of the dreary, back-breaking chores of women and girls in Africa is to walk miles every day to fetch a few gallons of unsafe water for cooking and drinking. In parts of the world lacking safe water, dysentery and cholera are common; yet we take an abundance of water for granted.
Monday, February 23, 2009

Your energy resources

Features Harley L. Sachs Your energy resources
Harley L. Sachs 2/23/09

Most of the energy you need lies beneath your feet and in the sky above, and there’s no need to create CO2 to utilize it. As any cave explorer can tell you, the average temperature of the earth in Michigan is about 45 degrees F. Drawing upon it, you can heat or cool your house.
Take geothermal energy: An engineering professor at Michigan Tech University sought out the longest flexible plastic pipe he could find so each would make a loop in the soil without a vulnerable joint. He buried a number of plastic pipe loops in his yard, bringing the ends into the basement and connecting them with a heat exchanger. Filled with many gallons of antifreeze, the underground radiator thus formed could be tapped for the temperature of the earth.